Congratulations! Graduating from college means that you’ve passed the hard part, and all that’s left to do is find the perfect job, make millions of dollars, and live happily ever after. Unfortunately, that’s not how things work in the real world, so it’s best to figure out what comes next as soon as possible. Whether you’re looking for your first job or hoping to take some time off before you settle into one, here are seven things to do after graduating from college.
Start With the Foundation
While you’re busy figuring out what to do now that you’ve finished college, it can be easy to lose sight of your long-term goals and forget about how everything you’re learning will help you achieve your dreams. It’s not uncommon for new grads to suddenly find themselves with a degree but no idea what they want to do with it, especially if their education hasn’t been heavily focused on career planning. If that sounds like you, don’t fret—it happens to many people.
Prepare for Interviews
Getting a job is one thing, but making sure you get one you want is another. Before your first interview with a potential employer, be sure you’re ready by researching the company and preparing your own questions. Being prepared ahead of time will not only make you look more professional in interviews, but it also means that when it comes time for an offer, you can negotiate with confidence. And don’t worry about asking for too much—you have more leverage than you might think!
Enjoy Yourself and Take It Easy
This is not an edict to spend your time in a frat house, binge-drinking and playing video games. It’s simply a recommendation that you take some time after finishing school—or even during it—to relax and do things you enjoy. Maybe it’s traveling for several months, taking up a new hobby, or just kicking back at home with family and friends.
Start Apartment Hunting
You’re moving out of your college dorm and into an apartment! This move means you’ll have more space and freedom, but it also comes with responsibilities. Look up apartment listings online to see what comes with each unit and how much these extra appliances cost. Start saving money for them before you move in. You might consider moving to the city instead of a long commute from a suburb. A big city means more opportunities and job availability. There are numerous condominiums for sale surrounded by restaurants, coffee shops, gyms, and grocery stores. Once you decide where you want to live, start meeting people around your new neighborhood.
Get Help From Your Friends and Family
Use your family and friends as a sounding board to help you realize what’s important and what isn’t. Make sure they support your decisions but don’t be afraid to tell them when they are wrong. If you’re in a rut, you can ask them for advice. They’ll likely have good suggestions since they want to see you succeed. You can also learn a thing or two from your family’s experiences since they were in your position before.
Use Your Resources
Graduate school can teach you a lot, but when it comes time to enter your chosen field, grads should take advantage of their former schools’ resources. If you often go back, you may even make valuable professional connections. If there are no alumni groups near you or if you’re just not sure where to look, check out your school’s website. It may have an alum directory or a list of where recent graduates are working. And don’t forget about career services and placement centers on campuses. They know what companies are hiring and might have access to exclusive internships. All-in-all, going back will likely be beneficial in some way—at least it will bring more people and energy into your life!
Take Things One Day at a Time
Life is short, and things will not always go your way. While you can’t stop living your life just because something goes wrong, you should take it easy on yourself and think about how you can improve next time. When you’re upset about one thing or another, try taking a day off from the things that are stressing you out. Allow yourself some time to relax and clear your head to make better decisions for yourself.
You’ve graduated from college and are officially entering adulthood. What comes next? Will you start a family or build a career? Or, will you start another part-time job so that you can make rent in your expensive new city? Only you know what comes next, but one thing is for sure: you don’t have time to waste! Don’t let these precious years slip away.